File photo of a young elk in Dalarna. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT
Swedish forest authorities want to shoot more elk in future hunts, because the animals cause too much damage to trees across the country.
In a new report the Swedish Forest Agency (Skogsstyrelsen) notes that 10-20 percent of all Scots pine trees in the Västerbotten region were damaged by grazing elk in the past year. In parts of the Jämtland region the figure climbs to 50 percent. These are record figures, it writes in a statement.
Damages of around 10 percent were registered in almost all regions in the yearly inventory.
The Forest Agency on Wednesday called for decisive measures to put an end to the trend.
"We want (the damage level) to be a maximum of five percent," its wildlife specialist Christer Kalén told newspaper Västerbottens-Kuriren.
The Local has previously reported on the damage caused to Sweden's forests by hungry elk. This year's record figures are thought to be caused by the cold and snowy winter, which meant that the animals were not able to find food on the ground and moved around less from area to area.
"All actors involved have to realize how serious the situation is and make strong and coordinated efforts in most of the areas," said Kalén in an official statement published on the agency's website.
The Forest Agency now wants to increase the annual elk cull by up to 10-20 percent, writes Västerbottens-Kuriren. In a normal year around 80,000 to 90,000 elk are killed in the hunt.
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